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Arts Vanity: Should I Publish This Controversial Take? A Field Guide

Amelia Vanity Photo 2019 Arts

So your discerning eye for high culture has led you to a seismic revelation that demands to be shared with the Crimson Arts readership. Congratulations on your critical analysis of the constructed capitalist environment you live in! Feasting on the blood of mass media is what keeps us young. Yet not all takes are created equal. Read on for a flow chart of when you should smash that Google Doc share button and when you should really just keep a journal or create a provocative anonymous blog.

Step 1: Will You Be Sued For This Take?

If No, you’re golden for now. Perhaps you’re teetering on a tightrope like Philippe Petit, thousands of feet above a sea of libel. Move to Step 2 nonetheless.

If Yes, archive the document and go to bed. Drink some calming tea, maybe.

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Step 2: If Discovered, Will This Controversial Take Have the Potential to Significantly Impact Your Occupational Future?

If No, you may fall into one of two categories: a) you want to work for Vulture and the significant impact in question is positive, or b) your take is probably not hot enough. If b), return to Step 1 and flesh out your take to the knife’s edge of danger before continuing.

If Yes, self-interrogation is in order. For instance, how important is it to state on record that you fell asleep during “The Irishman” if you’d love to meet Marty one day in an old-school sauce joint and hand him an embossed business card? If the former outweighs the latter, plow ahead.

Step 3: Will Your Friends and Loved Ones Think Less of You For Publishing This Take?

If No, congratulations. Feel free to skip to Step 5.

If Yes, it might be a good time to reflect on the take itself and excavate any malicious intent, which, if found, indicates that the take should be retired. But if the take withstands ethical scrutiny, perhaps the anticipated hostility is more a matter of taste. Does your great-uncle adore the chauvinist HBO crime drama you are about to critique? This brings us to Step 4, which is...

Step 4: Do You Care If Your Loved Ones Think Less Of You For Publishing This Take?

If No, you’re in the clear — though they’d appreciate a heads up nonetheless. You’ve made it to Step 5.

If Yes, maybe it’s time to throw in the towel, even on that noble tirade about how Lindsay Lohan’s early music career was criminally underrated. Her artistic dignity just isn’t worth a tense Thanksgiving dinner.

Step 5: Do You Want This Take to Be Attached to Your Name in Perpetuity?

If No, the implications of the previous steps were misunderstood. Best wishes for a more brazenly confident take next time.

If Yes, congratulations, you’re ready to publish! Check back in 10 years and see if you stand by your choices when Martha from work forwards your impassioned critique of Jennifer Lopez’s 2000s cultural dominance to the whole office.

— Incoming Blog Exec Amelia F. Roth-Dishy ’22 has a store of mildly controversial arts opinions on offer just in case anyone asks. Please direct all suggestions for alternative methods of filling brain space to amelia.roth-dishy@thecrimson.com. Seriously, please.

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